29 June 2014

Route 67 - New Artwork

This weekend Suzie and I went to the Donkin to check out the latest artwork, which turned out to be a very cheerful piece of work. I still need to find out the name of the artist and the name of the work.


Close-up of some of the panels, which I believe are made from the caps of medicine bottles.


Route 67, is an amazing project displaying street art from the Campanile near the harbour, to the Nelson Mandela Bay Art Museum at St Georges Park. It was named in honour of the 67 years that Nelson Mandela contributed to South African politics and the struggle to eradicate apartheid.

28 June 2014

Inner City Birds - Yellow-billed Egret

A Yellow-billed Egret captured at the Donkin Reserve today. It is not a bird I have seen in the inner city before, but it is number 25 in my collection.

26 June 2014

Skywatch Friday - Fireworks

Another week to go and the National Arts Festival gets underway in Grahamstown and the festinos will be treated in for 10 days of music, art, theatre, good food, wine and the many stalls offering a wide range of "stuff" that you need, don't need and want. It is a time when the City of Grahamstown bursts at the seams with people and there is a great buzz. I guess that it is all about creativity, inspiration and stimulating the senses. When you leave it will be with a sense of knowing that you'll be back..

These are a few of the many photos I took of the fireworks display last year, which Suzie and I followed up with a mouth watering meal at one of the many restaurants afterwards.

It is one of the times when I get out of my bush mode and enjoy the vibe.


For many wonderful pictures from around the world visit the Skywatch Friday site.

25 June 2014

Going Green Again

Another old faithful that reached the end of its life and left to decay in the bush at Glen Lyndon, near Bedford. These old cars always make interesting photo subjects.



24 June 2014

Birds of the Inner City - Common Fiscal

Juvenile and adult Common Fiscals surveying the scene


Juvenile pouncing on some unseen prey


23 June 2014

Cheetah Cubs #3

The cheetah cubs at the Kragga Kamma Game Park are growing up fast and the mamma is becoming more inclined to bring them out into the open, which is great, because they are always a delight to watch.

Always ready for a game........................................


Family affection............................

22 June 2014

Depth of field - take your pick

If you've ever tried photographing dragon flies you'll know that sitting still is not in their character. Now bring a 120-500mm lens on a tripod into the picture and try and sort out the depth of field for a particular shot.........

My result was slightly different with the two shots I succeeded in getting off...............so red or blue, take your pick.

Red.........


.......or blue?

21 June 2014

Winter solstice - Richmond Hill.

Here is an example of the brilliance of the early twentieth century builders. On the 21 June every year, the rising sun is perfectly aligned between the hall at the St Phillips Church, the St Phillips Guesthouse and our front gate. And, to top it all legend has it that if a flock of crows flies over when you are watching the sunrise, you are going to have a really good year. Okay, so I made I up the second part, but no problem that's how legends are born.


20 June 2014

Reflections at the Port

Reflections tell their own story.............. these were taken on a calm day at Port St Francis.


19 June 2014

Skywatch Friday - Birds and Clouds

A smattering of clouds and a Kelp Gull are enough to make one look skyward with interest..........


......but sometimes the sky, with the help of a few clouds, just takes your breath away.


For many wonderful pictures from around the world visit the Skywatch Friday site.

18 June 2014

Birds of the Inner City - Burchell's Coucal

I started a project a few months back, to see how many birds I could photograph in the inner city. Though many of the birds live quite happily in the concrete jungle, we are fortunate to have some well treed public open space alongside our neighbourhood, which makes it attractive for the more shy birds, like the Burchell's Coucal.


So far I have managed to photograph 24 birds and am still trying to get some elusive characters such as the Cape Eagle Owl and the Cape White-eyes.

17 June 2014

Fantasy Lighthouse

The lighthouse at Seal Point, Cape St Francis has many moods. It just depends on what time of the day you happen to be there and what the whether is like. It is seen here reflecting in a pool..............


16 June 2014

15 June 2014

Adventures with Koos - Camdeboo National Park

What would have been a trip to a local dietitian for most normal families ended up being a 600 km round trip, for me and Suzie. You see the dietitian she chose for us to see is based in Somerset East, about 180 kms from our front door and from there we decided to head for Graaf Reinet, a further 124 km away as we had heard that snow had fallen in the area. Needless to say any traces of snow had long since vanished by the time we got there, but that was no hardship as the country side is nothing short of spectacular.

And then we very foolishly decided to spend the night in a safari tent at the Camdeboo National Park. At any other time of the year it would have been great, but the next day we learnt the temperature had dropped -4 degrees centigrade. It was no wonder when we went to bed we were swathed in winter pajamas, scarves and beanies and a pile of blankets and duvets. Only our eyes and noses visible as we snuggled in our beds and great clouds of vapour filled the tent when we breathed out.

One generally associates Graaf Reinet with the Valley of Desolation, but the next day our sight seeing took us up the Koedoeskloof 4x4 trail  where were greeted by these spectacular views of the plains of the Camdeboo.


If you want to experience this view the only way up this mountain is in a 4x4 and it is well worth the trip.


The road has, I believe been upgraded, but I would still recommend low range 4x4 going up.


So, going to the dietitian does not have to be a boring or routine visit.

14 June 2014

Kragga Kamma Magic

It was a real treat to spend the night at the Kragga Kamma Game Park and to wake up to all sorts of game on our front lawn, like giraffe, ostriches, warthogs and nyala.

This young nyala bull was part of a group that came past shortly after sunrise.

12 June 2014

Skywatch Friday - Richmond Hill Sunrise

Sunrise over Algoa Bay, with St Phillips Church silhouetted against the sky.


For many wonderful pictures from around the world visit the Skywatch Friday site.

11 June 2014

Birding in the RSA - Ostriches

It is easy to take these birds for granted, because they are fairly common and have also been domesticated. So, you've seen one ostrich you've seen them all. I find them fascinating birds and always have time to stop for a photograph.

Domesticated ostrich photographed on the side of the road near Oudtshoorn.


These ostriches are taking the gap at the Camdeboo National Park.

10 June 2014

Gemsbok

This was one of those fortuitous moments when one is compelled to stop a journey. It's not every day that one comes across gemsbok standing on the side of the road, waiting to be photographed.


09 June 2014

Birding in the RSA - Rock Kestrel

The power of these raptors is truly amazing - he was really struggling with this rat, but still managed to fly with it



Sitting with his capture and resenting the intrusion.








08 June 2014

Who's the boss

At the Addo Elephant National Park you don't just see elephants you "experience" them.

This bull was one of a small herd that passed through a group of cars that had stopped to watch their approach. The photo is made dramatic by the foreshortening caused by my 120-500 mm lens, but even so the guy was close and it shows his size well, in relation to the car. When you have encounters like this it is awesome and you realise for just how long you are able to hold your breath.


The Addo elephants are generally very placid but that does not mean that we must be complacent and take them for granted. When we in the park we are in their space and we must respect them and not do anything to provoke them. If they show any sign of aggression back off.

When a bull happens to be in musth, which is very evident from the secretion coming from a gland between his eye and his ear, give him plenty of space, because during musth the testosterone levels increase and they become very aggresive.

So, who is the boss? You had better believe this guys is.

07 June 2014

Going Green

Nature has a way of taking back the things man leaves behind, like this old car that probably traveled many miles along the dusty roads of the Eastern Cape, now left abandoned at Glen Lyndon near Bedford.

06 June 2014

Adventures with Koos - Tankwa Karoo

Take an elderly couple and put them in an elderly 4x4 and hey presto you have a recipe for travel, to all the weird and wonderful places they have never been able to get to before.

That's me and Suzie and Koos (aka Hyundai Terracan 2.9 CRDI). Maybe I should also mention that we have some eccentric habits like naming our cars, cameras and whatever else takes our fancy. Let's face it, giving them names is a lot more fun than sticking to the generic trade name - it gives them a personality and makes them part of the family. I'd better stop right here, before someone decides to lock me away....

The adventures with Koos are about some of the interesting places we have visited on our travels around South Africa. Many of these are places that have been on our bucket list for many years, but were not accessible in our "platkar" (that is 4x4 speak for a low slung two wheel drive vehicle).

Last year in Spring we traveled to the Northern Cape to see the flowers and to visit one of the driest places in the country - the Tankwa Karoo. That was not to be, because we arrived after record rains and were greeted by a magnificent show of colour and plenty of water.

We are seen here, unbeknown to us at the time, heading the wrong way down the Leeuberg 4x4 Trial - it was fun though.


I am not sure if I should be looking forward to the next adventure in which we will be heading to the North, where foul weather and snow are predicted.  Yes, Winter is finally here and is coming in with a vengeance. Watch this space for the next Adventure with Koos.

05 June 2014

Skywatch Friday - To "capture" a vervet.

When I took this picture I never really has Skywatch in mind, because I was trying to photograph a vervet monkey, minus most of his tail. As luck would have it I had taken off my big lens and was somewhat limited in my zooming capabilities, but I liked the final result.

On the road to Huntly Glen near Bedford

For many wonderful pictures from around the world visit the Skywatch Friday site.

Springtime in the Tankwa Karoo

In spring the usually arid Tankwa Karoo landscape turns into a sea of colour after the first rains.


04 June 2014

Birding in the RSA - "The Opportunists"

This was a rare sighting, for me any way, of Cape Glossy Starlings removing ticks from a warthog. This guy must have realised that these birds were doing him a service by removing the ticks, because he stood quite still for a long time, while they got on with their business.

I love the sheen of these birds and the beady bright orange eye. I can never resist photographing them and this episode merely added an interesting new dimension to the task.


Gotcha............

Blue Wednesday - Vervet Monkey

Casually chewing on a piece of grass. What more can I say.....................


01 June 2014

Birding in the RSA - African Spoonbill

I photographed this African Spoonbill near Jack's Picnic Place at Addo. Birding is such fun.